Game Developer Holds Summit to Discuss Toxic Gaming Environment

Apparently, online gaming is too toxic for a female like me.

Ahead of E3, popular game developer EA invited several hundred “influencers” in to discuss the toxicity of the online gaming society.

We’ve all seen the memes of foul-mouthed pre-teens screaming about the awful things they’d do to “your mom” if you didn’t get your sh-stuff together and learn how to headshot with that sniper rifle in Call of Duty 78. So, it should come as no surprise that this behavior exists. In fact, one could make the argument that it has been cultivated by anonymity and violence-laden games.

But, what do you say to a female that simply creates characters and mods in a life simulation game where the most violent thing that might happen is someone’s house catching fire while cooking a grilled cheese? This is what one community pillar faced. A popular Sims player reported several instances of hate speech and harassment while she streamed her gaming, saying she was targeted.

The environment is toxic, right? The same anonymity begets mistreatment. Or…maybe…the gamers are just d*cks. Does hiding behind a screen make it easier to be outrageous? Yes. Is this behavior okay? NO! But to blame the gaming environment is ridiculous. To label it as toxic is a misidentification. To waste time and resources on a summit to figure out solutions… well, must be nice to have that kind of disposable profit margin.

If you want to tamp out bullying, then smack down the ban hammer. If you don’t want to foster a “toxic environment” then cut the toxic players out, for good. Be willing to have a smaller, positive, enriching user base. The days/weeks/months/years of “collaborative engagement” only allows the problems to persist while solutions are developed. Meanwhile, the solution is easy: if they break the community code remove their access to the community.

Perhaps the most offensive thing, to this writer, about the source article is the clickbait headline that made it sound like it only affects women and minorities. Yep. We’re the easier of the targets, but I’m certain that we are not the only ones. We are not so weak that we must be the focus of a special task force to save us from the meanies online.

If game developers truly want to engender positivity in their online communities and empower all users within it, then they need to ban the bullies and give users the tools to block/turn off/silence users that persist.

I’ve been playing online games for almost 20 years. I’ve been called everything that I can’t type here. I block who I need to, ignore who I can’t, and build my own close-knit squad of gamers to make the gameplay fun in spite of any toxicity that I might have to dodge while grinding away at experience points. Then again, I just play for fun. It is a game, after all.


Erica Davis

Erica is a BlackBerry fanatic, supporter, and uses BlackBerry devices exclusively. She likes to connect the dots, fit the pieces together, and showcase the overshadowed... oh, and she likes cookies.